Meadville Tribune

August 28, 2013

The Pit Pass: Blair wins tour stop in Marion

Gary Thayer
Special to The Meadville Tribune

MARION CENTER — This past weekend I had the opportunity to go with some great friends — and they are family to me — down to Marion Center Speedway with a race car in tow. It was a long ride through some of the most beautiful country at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. But, believe me, it was a longer ride home. I will get to that later.

We traveled to Marion Center for the finale of the FASTRAK Touring Series’ Triple Crown event. The third race was a makeup from earlier this season. Along with tour points, the drivers were competing to be the Triple Crown King.

Coming into the race, Wayne Robertson of Corning, N.Y. was leading the crown points over Conneaut Lake drive Matt Latta.

Centerville’s Max Blair of Centerville set fast time in the trials. Then it was time for the 35-lap feature, which brought out 23 FASTRAK Late Models. Blair and Andrew Satterlee set up a two-lap shootout for the win and at the end Blair held off Satterlee for the win. It was Blair’s sixth touring victory of the year. The 18th-starting Robertson charged through the field to take third, which earned him the title of Triple Crown champ. Both Blair and Robertson came to victory lane. Blair received the race trophy and Robertson was crowned the Triple Crown King.

As for the ride home, we left the track and a couple of miles later another race trailer was pulled over with their four ways on. It was Joe Martin, one of the FASTRAK competitors. We saw that they were working on the trailer, so we pulled over to help. This is another show of “family looks out for family.”

Wright claims Raceway 7 points title

CONNEAUT, Ohio — Chad Wright of Springboro had a great night on Friday, winning the evening’s FASTRAK 20-lap feature and claiming the points championship for the division at Raceway 7. It was Wright’s fifth feature win of the year at the track and his first time as points champ.

In other racing action at Raceway 7, in the E-Mods, Joel Watson of Conneaut, Ohio, pulled off the points champion repeat after winning his sixth feature of the year and his second consecutive track championship in the process.

In the Street Stocks, Waterford’s Chris Withers won the 15-lap feature and also the points championship for the class. It was Withers’ seventh feature win of the year.

In the Econo Mods, 2012 Twin State Auto Club Rookie of the Year Casey Bowers picked up his first feature win of the year at the Conneaut track. Brian Hathaway finished seventh, which was good enough to grab his first ever points title.

In the Mini Stocks, New Castle’s Alex Paden made his first start at Raceway 7 and made it a good win, winning the night’s feature event. Next week’s action will decide the points champion for the Minies.

King Jr. wins wild one at Sharon

HARTFORD, OHIO — Rex King Jr. of Bristolville, Ohio, ran second for most of Saturday’s Big Block Modified feature at Sharon Speedway. But he wouldn’t let leader Ricky Richner gain any distance from him. Then as the two approached lapped traffic on the final lap, Richner lifted off the throttle just enough for King to make a daring pass first place, taking the checkered flag by .085 seconds for his third feature win of the year at Sharon.

In the RUSH Late Models,  Sharpsville driver and last years point champ Wil Thomas III claimed his fourth feature of the season at Sharon. Thomas is still in the hunt for this year’s points race, trailing Albion’s Denis Lunger Jr. by 29 points.

Another Bristolville driver, Joe Gabrielson, took the top spot in the 15-lap E-mod feature. Gabrielson started seventh and put his driving skills to work to overtake last week’s winner, Scott Stiffler.

In the Stock Cars, Paul Davis of Fowler, Ohio, won his third feature of the year Saturday night. Davis had to wait almost until the end of the racing season to claim it, though. He won two features in the first four weeks of the season, and finally made it back to victory lane on Saturday.

It was another win for Bristolville, Ohio, in the Econo Mods, as Jeremy Double brought the feature trophy home, after beating his season-long rival Jason Eucker across the finish line.

Finally, in the Mini Stocks, Travis Creech of Niles, Ohio, won his fifth feature of the year in the 12-lap main event.

Ferree takes Super Late title at Lernerville

SARVER — Saxonburg’s Alex Ferre claimed his fourth Super Late Model feature of the year and also laid claim to the title of 2013 Super Late Model Champion at Lernerville Speedway on Friday.

In the DIRTcar Sprints, Wayne County, Ohio driver Andrew Palker made the trip to Lernerville for the second time in his career and drove right past Jack Sodeman Jr. for his first feature there.

In the DIRTcar Modifieds, Leechburg’s Brian Swartzlander added another notch in his belt as he won his 81st career feature. He is still in the chase for the points championship.

In the Sportsman class, Joe Kelly has been the bridesmaid this year, but never the bride.

That all changed Friday night as he won his first feature win of the year at the ’Ville.

Holtgraver wins Sprint Champions event

MERCER — I have to apologize, because in last week’s article I said that Mercer was taking this past weekend off. I was wrong. The All Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprints competed there Saturday night. Pittsburgh’s Danny Holtgraver has had a hot shoe as of late and he didn’t have any problems taking control late in the event, besting Lernerville’s Friday night winner Andrew Palker.

Fowler, Ohio’s Jimmy Morris took off at the start of the Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature and never looked back.

In the Open Street Stocks, Tim Bish came from out East to Mercer to get in some lap time before the last big event of the year there — the Little Guy Nationals, Sept. 20 and 21. And Bish found the going was good, winning the 15-lap feature.

Finally, Jamey Lee took the checkered flag in the Mini Stock feature.

Michael sweeps Clinger Memorials, Blair wins points title

HAMMETT — Eriez Speedway hosted the Joanne Clinger Memorial Sunday night. The Clinger name may sound familiar as the Clinger family had the Chris Clinger Memorial last week at Raceway 7. Joanne, the Mother of Chris and wife of Jim, was a well-loved car owner and race fan at Eriez. Joanne passed away a few years ago.

The winner of the Joanne Clinger Memorial might sound familiar too. Rich Michael of Ishua, N.Y. won the Chris Clinger Memorial earlier this month. Then came to Eriez and grabbed Joanne’s race as well.

Jim Clinger was able to attend Sunday Night as he watched his friend win the feature.

In the Super Late Models, Robbie Blair of Centerville won his eighth feature of the year at Eriez and also claimed his very first track championship there.

And Max Blair made it two wins this past weekend, following up Saturday’s win at Marion with Sunday’s FASTRAK Late Model feature at Eriez. It was his sixth feature of the year at the track. On this night, he had his father Robbie chasing him. And at times, the father and son duo were racing side-by-side. But it was Max pulling away from the elder Blair to the checkered flag.

In the Limited late Models, Steve Kania took over the lead at lap 12 and cruised to the flag stand for the win.

In the Street Stocks, Pat McGuire started on the front row and led the entire event to the checkered flag.

Finally, in the Challengers Joe Beach won his second feature of the year.

Until next week, take your family to the races.